On Thursday, the NRA-supported case Peruta v. California took an important step towards restoring the right to bear arms in California. The plaintiffs in the case, California gun owners and the California Rifle and Pistol Association, filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking the United States Supreme Court to hear the case.
The filing of the petition on Thursday is the most recent step in a case that has been working it’s way through federal courts in California for over seven years. The case seeks recognition of the fundamental individual right of law-abiding gun owners to carry a firearm for self-protection. While it may seem obvious that the Second Amendment protects this most basic firearms freedom, the lower federal courts have continually resisted following guidance from the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago.
While the fate of the Peruta case is now up to the Supreme Court, the final composition of the Court is still unclear. One of Donald J. Trump’s first actions as President will be to fill the vacancy on the Court left by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia was a stalwart defender of the Second Amendment and author of the Heller decision, where the Court clearly articulated the individual nature of the right to keep and bear arms.
Now, with the important question of what it means to “bear arms” before the court, the need to fill Justice Scalia’s vacant seat on the Court with a justice who understands the original meaning of the Second Amendment is more important than ever before. Fortunately, Justice Scalia provided clear guidance on the meaning of the Second Amendment for the Court’s next justice. Writing for the majority in Heller, he found that the Second Amendment “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”
In the coming weeks, the Senate will take up President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. With the Peruta case before the Court, it is critically important that the Senate confirms a justice who shares Justice Scalia’s view on the constitutional right to bear arms.